Friday, November 4, 2011

CR&S at EICMA 2011

CR&S is once again participating in Milan's annual International Motorcycle Exhibition (EICMA 2011). EICMA is the most important motorcycle exhibition on the calendar. I runs from November 10-13th.

If you are staying in Milan the easiest way to get there is via the Metro subway. Take the red line in the direction of Rho - fieramilano. This is also the name of the stop where you will get off the train. If you are traveling by car or motorcycle then get a navigator. For further details follow this link.

The exhibition is huge. The CR&S stand will be located in Hall 2, Booth I-33. They will be exhibiting a tasty selection of their VUN & DUU motorcycles. The CR&S stand is not the largest in the show but it is always one of the finest and most interesting stands.

Unfortunately I cannot attend this year's show. Among all the other goodies I will be missing out on will be MV Agusta's F3 and the new F3 Brutale (naked), as well as the unveiling of Ducati's much anticipated new Superquadratta Superbike.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MCN, Cathcart and the DUU

CR&S have posted a reproduction of Alan Cathcart's article in the English motorcycle magazine, MCN, where he reviews the new DUU.

Click here to view the article.

Below, a bonus video animation of the DUU.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More on Cathcart & the DUU

The first official test ride of the CR&S DUU was held on the outskirts of Milan before the Italian Ferragosto vacation in August. The test rider was freelance journalist, Alan Cathcart.

As it was during the development of the VUN a few years ago, Cathcart had a reserved seat when it came to testing and reviewing the new DUU. Alan Cathcart has undisputed credentials as a test rider and maintains a close affinity to the CR&S management. Incidentally he was also first to suggest using the S&S X-Wedge engine to Roberto Crepaldi way back when the DUU was just an idea and some rough drawings.

A short video of this test was posted in an earlier Blog entry.

In the final week of August, during the Manx Grand Prix, CR&S also organized a series of  DUU test rides at Isle of Man. Participating were journalists from all the leading European motorcycle magazines. Expect to see DUU test articles hit your newsstands soon.

As I gaze out of my window at the rain and cold in the north of Holland, these photos make me pine for the warm dry riding conditions of the Italian autumn.

To finish, some words from Roberto Crepaldi:

I hope you had a nice summer. For us it was definitely satisfying as the first DUU motorcycles were finally delivered ...

Allow me to submit my thoughts: autumn is the best time to take out your motorcycle. Enjoy it for as long as the mountain passes are still open. Not too cold nor too hot, there's not too much traffic and the asphalt holds well...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Made in VΨRUS

A clever and amusing video made entirely from still photographs. It documents the creation of a single VΨRUS 986 M2.

VΨRUS are a small manufacturer of exotic hub-center steered sports motorcycles based in Rimini, Italy (naturally). The 986 M2 is intended as a customer-spec Moto 2 race bike. VΨRUS also intend to create a street-legal version using the Honda CBR600RR engine.

To Beta or not to Beta

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

R.I.P. Claudio Castiglioni

I wish I had the time to write this last Wednesday when I first read of the death of Claudio Castiglioni aged 63. Who was Claudio Castiglioni? I will always remember him as the business man come motorcycle enthusiast who...
  • With his brother rescued the Aermacchi motorcycle brand from Harley-Davidson in 1978 re-branding the company as CAGIVA.
  • Saved Ducati from bankruptcy in 1985 nurturing from a basket-case it into a World Superbike Championship wining company with a proud line up of models and massive improvements in quality and reliability.
  • Built a successful 500cc GP team that competed with distinction winning many races and reaching third in the world championship in 1994.
  • Resurrected the legendary MV Agusta brand in the early 1990's. MV's first gift to the world (in 1997) was the fantastic MV F4 superbike.
  • Had to sell the Ducati brand in 1996 due to financial difficulties. But thanks to the Castiglioni Ducati went on to become one of the most iconic brands in motorcycling.
  • Due to more financial problems, was forced to sell MV Agusta in 2004 to a Malaysian investment company for €70 million.
  • In 2006 Castiglioni was able to find an Italian investor to buy back MV Agusta for just €1.
  • After some years of being unable to find enough outside investment to launch new models MV was again sold to Harley-Davidson in 2008 for €70 million.
  • Harley-Davidson invested serious money into the brand only to be smacked by the 2009 recession. Harley, desperate to get rid of any non-core cost centers sold the entire MV Agusta brand back to... you know who, for €3. Hey that's 3-times more than the Malaysians got!
Now the MV brand seems to have the reinvestment it needed, no debts (thanks Harley) and one of the sexiest new motorcycles I have ever seen (the new F3) due to be launched this year.

What a story, what a lifetime of achievement. What a wonderful legacy has been left in the younger hands of Claudio's son Giovanni Castiglioni.

The CAGIVA C595 took John Kocinski to third place in the 1994 500cc championship.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cathcart Tests the DUU

World famous motorcycle journalist and Italian motorcycle aficionado, Alan Cathcart, test rides the CR&S DUU on the twisty Milanese country roads that surround the CR&S factory. Check the next issue of your favorite motorcycling magazine for a full review.

Tired Hero

Jule Thiel after a ride in the side-car. Courtesy Thiel Motorsport.

Just for fun :-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

VΨRUS Moto 2 - Track Test

In this video MCN test ride the new VΨRUS 986 M2. This bike is being prepared for the Moto 2 race series and uses the standard 600cc four-cylinder Honda race engine specially prepared for this series.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DUU Assembly Notes

While visiting the CR&S factory two weeks ago I checked out the progress at the DUU assembly line.

Delivery of the first production DUU motorcycles is running a few months behind schedule. Problems with parts supplies and sorting out the final few niggling problems have been the main causes according to Roberto Crepaldi.

While I was at the factory I saw three DUUs in the assembly area, racks of S&S v-twin engines in crates, new frames having just been TIG-welded, rows of new suspension units and a new (since my last visit) parts store which looked full of parts ready to be turned into DUU motorcycles...

Freshly welded DUU frames ready for assembly.

DUU front suspension units decorate the entrance to the assembly storage area.

Considering CR&S motorcycles are hand made for a limited annual production this seems like a serious investment, no doubt encouraged by strong pre-orders for the DUU.

Background: Domenico Lavorata inspects a DUU in the assembly area.

Roberto Crepaldi with the DUU production prototype, ready for another test ride.

Italian manufacturing usually closes each year for the month of August, but Roberto says that will not apply to CR&S this year. Due to the DUU production delays, this year's VUNIC meeting was also cancelled (sad). The bright spot is that next year's ride will undoubtedly include a full contingent of DUUs.

Monday, August 1, 2011

VUN Rossi Tribute

During a recent visit to the CR&S factory in Milan I was generously given permission to wander around freely, camera in hand. There were plenty of new and interesting things to poke my nose into since I last visited the factory in December of last year.

I will be sharing some my factory vistas over the next few posts to this blog. To begin with, here is a delightful curiosity that was on display in the CR&S factory's new reception area...

It is, of course, the frame, suspension and swing-arm of a VUN. Nice, but what makes this one worth a second look is the plaque bolted to the steering head (click to enlarge).

A rough translation of the plaque reads... To Valentino Rossi for the pride in knowing that you are one of us. Nice gesture. Rossi sure is admired in Italy, especially in the north.

The reason for the factory visit was to pick up my VUN which had been in for its 10,000 km service, some paint work (partly to repair some crash damage from last year) and to fit some new parts. Here are the results (click to enlarge).

Apart from adding more red to the paintwork I added a front light protector (part number FLP) and  replaced the steel rear subframe with the lightweight alloy version (part number RCAS). One more step on the road to an ever-lighter, ever-prettier VUN.

Thanks to the staff at CR&S for the quality of their service and mechanical changes, and the skilled staff at Kaos Design for the excellent paint work.

Friday, July 8, 2011

No Accounting for Taste

I'm wrong again. After seeing the bike at Milan's EICMA motorcycle show in 2010, I predicted Ducati's new Diavel would be a flop. reports today, however, that the Diavel has been selling well, in fact Ducati has sold 5,000 Diavels in five months, which is a record for the company exceeding Ducati's own expectations.

What do I know

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I like the way you move

Videos are now circulating on the internet of MV Agusta's magnificent new 675cc, three cylinder, F3. This bodes well for MV's goal to begin production in Autumn of this year. Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

DUU Production Begins

CR&S announced today that production of their new DUU model is now underway.

The company's initial target was to begin production early March. Completion of strict EURO 3 vehicle certification and tooling up for low volume production had pushed this date back three months but now the first three frames have been loaded onto the assembly bench and are in production.

These first three bikes, once completed, will be used to promote the bike, in showrooms and the print media. This will be followed by the initial batch of bikes that will go out to eagerly awaiting customers.

 Robert Crepaldi with the DUU undergoing homologation testing

Testing the DUU two-up (Conlatusa)

Braking test with wet disk simulator

The DUU's X-Wedge motor undergoes final dyno-testing

The first three DUUs on the assembly line

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Roadson 550 - Beat That!

In French

Short film of how two racing enthusiasts with few resources were able to prove that lighter is better. A 550cc Aprilia SXV derived race bike weighing less than 100 kg (wet) competes the against modern superbikes. Just look at how the Roadson is able to corner so much faster and more efficiently than its competitors.

Fun to watch, even if you don't understand French.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coco Mademoiselle (updated)

I know it's fake and she isn't really riding the bike but... I can't help but love this video clip.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Italia

CR&S celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy with the construction of the VUN Tricolore.

I Mille (the one thousand)

On this day, one hundred and fifty years ago, the peninsula of Italy was united as one nation. One of the decisive acts in uniting the disparate Italian states was the famous march of Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1860, with a force of just 1000 volunteers (the redshirts), Garibaldi sailed from Genova (in the north) to conquer the island of Sicily. After decisive victories, and with his army swelling in numbers, he crossed to the mainland and marched north conquering Naples and uniting with the Piedmontese army from the north. This campaign led to the eventual unification of the Italian peninsula and its freedom from various foreign powers of the day (France and the Habsburg empire).

 Giuseppe Garibaldi
Il Tricolore

Il tricolore, the three colors (green, white and red) of the Italian flag, originate from the days of the 'first Italian republic'. This was comprised mainly of the northern Italian regions of Lombardia and Romagna (i.e. CR&S territory).

The VUN Tricolore will be on display at the "Esperienza Italia" exhibition in Turin. The event celebrates the anniversary of the Italian Unity. After one month of exposure, the VUN will will be substituted by a Tricolore version of the CR&S DUU.

Italy in Crisis

The Italian leadership of today seems blithely out of step with current world events: The Italian premiere fawns over and publicly kisses the hand of Muammar Gaddafi, who upon returning to his kingdom of Libya, begins to brutally repress and murder his people; Japan struggles to prevent a major nuclear disaster, while Italy prepares to hold a referendum on whether to allow the construction of nuclear reactors on Italy's earthquake-prone territory (the referendum is worded in such a way that if you are against changing the law to allow nuclear reactors you must answer "yes" - 'furbo').

Today, in Italy, it is difficult to find someone who is enthusiastic about 150 years of Italian unity. The nation seems increasingly divided into various factions: north vs south, communists vs fascists, AC Milan vs Juventus. And while public attention is diverted over such intractable divides, political and global business interests are exporting the country's industrial heart. The place and status of women in Italian society is being undermined and eroded at all levels by the mainstream media, the advertising industry and of course the scandalous acts of its political leadership. The once proud performing arts are being axed, even the ancient excavated city of Pompeii has begun to collapse, building by building, through bungling and neglect.

Perhaps it is time, once again, to remember the fateful words of Giuseppe Garibaldi: Qui si fa l'Italia o si muore.

VUN photos gratefully supplied by

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Second Hand VUNs Online

CR&S is now hosting a second hand VUN market on its company website. The site is a service to current VUN owners who want to connect with future VUN owners. If you are looking for a VUN motorcycle at a more affordable price then this is a good place to start.

There are currently two VUNs on sale at this site:

These VUNs are selling at €11,800 and €12,500 respectively. Every VUN is unique with its own specification and customization. For more details visit the CR&S second hand web page.

The motorcycles listed on this site are certified to be original CR&S motorcycles. CR&S Motorcycles is not directly involved in the trade-ins. The page is only a service for CR&S customers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

VUN Eye Candy

Oliver Thiel, of Thiel Motorsport, is planning a new "big bike killer" VUN. The all important graphic design details are being finalized and if these are anything to go by this VUN will really turn heads.

The design is by Steven Flier from Stuttgart, Germany. Steven was recently responsible for this iconic BMW 1000RR design...

Oliver's plans include a target weight of 120kg with 70-75HP.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Motus MST

The Motus motorcycle company has just released this video of the sports touring bike they have been developing over the past few years. The project is coming along nicely, and that V-4 engine sounds great.

Sounds like they are using a "big bang" firing order as per the current Ducati Desmoseidici Moto GP bike. But the Motus has a longitudinally-mounted crankshaft (a-la Moto Guzzi) powering the rear wheel via a drive shaft rather than a chain.

Given that a small team of enthusiasts can get this far on a shoestring, seems to me that Moto Guzzi just haven't been trying in recent years (decades). Bad for them, and the countless Moto Guzzi fans around the world... good for Motus.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jungle Boogie

Below: Deus Ex Machina's new Temple of Enthusiasm in Bali.

Above: the simple essence of motorcycling + I want a t-shirt like that!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

VUN Marathon in Circulation

CR&S enthusiast and friend, Maurizio Primo, is #27 in the growing line of DUU customers. Maurizio recently fulfilled his wish to participate in Germany's famous wintertime "Elephant Rally" (Elefantentreffen), on a CR&S motorcycle. Since the DUU is still preparing to go into production, CR&S made their VUN Marathon available for Maurizio's trip.

The VUN Marathon was last in action during Claudio Zanoni's 18,000km round trip of Europe in just 29 days!!

The Elephant Rally takes place on the first weekend in February or the last weekend in January each year in the Bavarian Forest of Germany. It is organized by the Federal Association of Motorcycle Riders in Germany. Each year between 5,000 and 10,000 riders from all over Europe brave the winter conditions to participate in the rally.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More on the VΨRUS 986 M2

In this video (in Italian) VΨRUS motorcycle's Ascanio Rodorigo, talks about the new VΨRUS 986 M2 project. He says that 2011 will be a development year for the race bike project therefore we cannot expect to see VΨRUS compete in Moto 2 until the 2012 season. However, private enthusiasts will be able to purchase track versions of the bike this year and street versions by September.

Pricing for the street version should be €25,000 and €55,000 for the track model. The track version will weigh in at 135kg with around 136CV peak power (nice square figures).

VΨRUS Moto 2 Race Bike

News at this month's Verona Bike Expo was that VΨRUS motorcycles has produced a Moto 2 race bike for this year's Moto 2 race series.

For those who don't know who VΨRUS is, it is a boutique motorcycle manufacturer out of the coastal Italian town of Rimini who produce hand-built hub-center steered motorcycles. Until now, all of their models used either Ducati 4-valve superbike or Ducati 2-valve supersport engines. The company was born out of the ashes of the collapse of the Bimota factory (one of the many collapses). Design plans and technical staff were available at the time to advance one of Bimota's most ambitious projects, a hub-center steered superbike.

Now Bimota too has risen from the ashes and is also producing a hub-center steered, Ducati engined superbike. This leaves VΨRUS in a difficult situation. There are now two boutique companies based in Rimini who both produce a Ducati-engined hub-center steered superbike, based on the same original design.

Producing a Moto 2 race bike using their hub-center steered designs is a logical and extremely ambitious move for VΨRUS. It proves that they believe in their hub-center steered concept and are willing to put their ideas to the ultimate test. All Moto 2 race bikes must utilize the same Honda 600cc engines and engine management systems. Thus chassis, setup, aerodynamics, tires and rider ability are the deciding factors in who wins or looses. This makes Moto 2 the perfect format for advanced and alternative chassis designs. It is interesting, and somewhat disappointing, that no one else competing in Moto 2 has taken the opportunity to think out of the box. More kudos to VΨRUS for being the first.

To top it all off, VΨRUS has now announced plans to put a street-legal version of this bike into production by September this year! It should be amazing!

With the introduction of MV Agusta's F3 last November, Triumph's already successful 675cc Daytona, and now the VΨRUS 600 - middle-weight sports bikes are where all the most exciting developments are occurring right now. This is logical given the weight and handling advantage a middle-weight has over a full-sized 1000cc plus superbike. The only advantage a superbike has is in horsepower, but this is hardly an advantage on normal roads when you are comparing say 130hp against 190hp. With 130hp you are drinking from the garden hose on full whereas with 190hp you are drinking from a fire hose. Either way you can't drink all that water, but the fire hose will make you a lot more than just wet.

Thanks to for allowing the use of this photo.

Monday, January 17, 2011

CR&S at the Verona Bike Show

CR&S is proud to announce its presence at the Verona Motor Bike Expo (from 21 to 23 of January, Hall 2 Booth 18F - ) where they will exhibit street production versions of both the VUN and DUU motorcycles.

The DUU models on display have previously only been shown last November at at the EICMA 2010 as a preview to the production models. The Verona show will be exhibiting final production versions.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Così Non Va

Something is just not right with this promo photo of Valentino Rossi sat across a Ducati Diavel. It just seems something of a mismatch, kind of like watching health food guru, Nancy Kalish, appear in a McDonald's TV add or something.

Now this is a bit more like it...

...not the snow mobiles part, just the photo op at the end with the new GP11 desmoseidici.

I think that Ducati has made a mistake with the Diavel. I thought it was an April Fools prank when I first heard Ducati was developing a big lazy cruiser. Something tells me that the market for this kind of bike just won't buy into the Ducati brand. The Diavel is big and ugly, but Ducati seems to think that this will appeal to the cruiser buying public. Offering more performance than a Harley is not difficult, but if peak horsepower was important to these riders then Harley would have provided some.

I think what the cruiser and custom bike buying public want is to make a connection with 'real' motorcycles. That means a machine where the engine is the center of attention and where all the parts are sculpted from metal in an aesthetically pleasing and balanced way.

When I look at the Diavel, I only see bulky plastic covers, tubing, ducts and frankly whacky styling. It looks more like an overweight Bimota Mantra (one of the most horrible bikes I ever saw) than something that you might park in your garage next to a 1966 Ford Thunderbird.

Bimota Mantra vs Ducati Diavel. Whacky 1990's styling makes a comeback.

Ducati staff might comment privately that they did try to copy the new CR&S DUU, but they needn't bother, it is obvious. Although the two bikes compete in a similar market (muscle bikes), aesthetically they are completely different...

I think CR&S made a wise choice to use a traditional, U.S. built, narrow angle, V-twin engine. This gives the bike a lot of credibility in the worldwide muscle-bike market. The S&S X-wedge engine is a real grunt machine. Beautiful design and exquisite detailing do not detract from the fact that this bike also handles really well.

Something like the DUU could probably never be made at Borgo Panigale. It would be unacceptable to use anything but a 90º desmodronic v-twin to start with. Perhaps this is simply a market that Ducati should never have tried to enter. If it is ever a success, it will certainly dilute their brand as a top of the range sports-bike (no matter how many times they make Valentino Rossi sit across it).